Treat sleep apnoea to improve hypertension, suggests study

Using continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) to treat patients with sleep apnoea could reduce high BP, research suggests.

CPAP therapy could also lower BP (Photo: SPL)
CPAP therapy could also lower BP (Photo: SPL)

The Spanish study of 194 sleep apnoea patients with hypertension found those who received CPAP treatment had lower mean BP and diastolic BP, but not systolic BP, when compared to control groups.

Researchers said there was a positive correlation between the number of hours spent using CPAP treatment and the associated decrease in BP.

CPAP is the 'treatment of choice' for severe or symptomatic sleep apnoea. Recent studies have shown that sleep apnoea, which is 'highly prevalent' in patients with hypertension, may contribute to poor control of BP. International guidelines recognise sleep apnoea as a major risk factor for hypertension.

Lead author Dr Miguel-Angel Martinez-Garcia, from the University Hospital La Fe, Valencia, said: ‘International guidelines have pointed out that even minimal reductions in the BP levels could have a significant effect by greatly reducing subsequent cardiac mortality.’

The study, presented on Sunday at the European Respiratory Society (ERS) congress 2014 in Munich, Germany, suggests that CPAP treatment could have a future role in treating hypertension.

It follows similar research in 2012 that showed mixed benefits from CPAP for high BP and cardiovascular risks.

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